“I’ll be honest with you — I was a little bit disappointed. I felt like some of the guys on the NFC side embarrassed themselves.”
Do you want to venture a guess as to who uttered that quote about the NFC’s effort in the Pro Bowl today? An analyst? A fan? Maybe one of the AFC’s players or coaches?
Nope. It was Aaron Rodgers, one of the quarterbacks who played for the NFC in Sunday’s Pro Bowl, on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee. The NFL’s All-Star Game has disintegrated into the least-compelling of any major sport’s all-star contest. The reason why, of course, is because it’s the sport where the biggest difference is seen between game speed and the speed of the all-star game.
It’s awful, really. The fans in Aloha Stadium were booing as the two teams competed to see which side could hit with less force. Players were being slowly lowered to the ground, placed on their backs with as little intent for violence as you could possibly imagine.
Awful. There’s no other way to say it.
Rodgers also mentioned the belief that when players aren’t playing full-speed, there’s a higher chance that they’ll get injured. So why are these guys so afraid of contact?
Because if you do injure one of your peers in an exhibition game, you could end a player’s career. Nobody wants to be that guy in a game where the players are only making $25,000. That “only” I used in the last sentence is relative, I know.
It doesn’t help that it’s the only sport where the all-star game is played between the semifinals and the championship game. In other sports, the all-star game is played in the middle of the season, not in the midst of the most intense games of the year. So the half-hitting and no blitzing looks even more pitiful when you just saw guys fighting for their livelihoods in conference title games.
Obviously, millions of people still want to see the Pro Bowl, so there’s no chance the NFL will kill the game altogether and take that kind of a hit to their bottom line. But what’s so bad about putting flags on these guys and letting them play that way? Hell, do it on a beach if you have to.
But stop pretending this is a real tackle football game. Because it’s not.
Rodgers was right. What we saw on Sunday evening in Honolulu was an embarrassment, and if a quarterback can see it from his own players, it’s a screaming issue to the fans.
What would you do to fix the Pro Bowl? Let me know in the Comments!